‘A Cat In Hull’s Chance’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

Once again, this episode seemed to have a lot of good things going for it. But it felt like two plots were left unfinished by the time the episode ended. I was very disappointed by this. I’ll explain why.

Thankfully we’ve got Peter Davison as Tristan back in the series after quite an absence. However he doesn’t do much in the episode. And guess what? Looking ahead, he’s not in the next episode either.

(groans) So frustrating! (Pause) Anyway, ‘A Cat In Hull’s Chance’ is by writer Michael Russell. It’s also the third episode to be directed by Steve Goldie. They do have their directors spread out this season.

I won’t try to say that the titles sequence has changed again considering they’ve mixed-up the directors directing which episodes. The inconsistency of the titles sequences reflects the writing too.

Anyway, the episode has James spending a lot of time with his family including his wife Helen, his son Jimmy and her daughter Rosie. In fact, this story would’ve made up for James’ family absentees.

I say ‘would’ve’ because it’s like this episode and the previous one featuring Jimmy and Rosie – which was ‘Out With The New’ – were the only ones the writers came up with. Especially in Series 7!

I don’t know if the producers and writers were planning something with Jimmy and Rosie in Series 8 should that have been made. But I sort-of doubt it and in any case I don’t think it would’ve occurred.

This is a shame because I would’ve liked further exploration of James’ relationship with his two children Jimmy and Rosie. Quite frankly, there hasn’t been much of that in the TV show’s reboot era.

Anyway, James wishes to build a new tennis court in the garden. He tries to get nets from Tristan in order to build the tennis court. Oh yeah! Tristan makes a contribution there even if we do not see it.

I admit it was amusing when the nets turned up and they don’t quite match to watch James wanted. It was also amusing once James tried putting metallic nets for the tennis court in the garden later on.

But in the end, James has trouble putting the tennis court together in the garden as he’s unable to read the instructions. I imagine Terry from ‘Terry and June’ having a same problem in that regard. 😀

Helen finds it funny when the metal tennis court collapses to the ground. She’s laughing away a lot. 😀 I don’t believe that tennis court issue is resolved by the episode’s end, which is for the best really!

Meanwhile, James’ daughter Rosie has taken an interest in his work as a vet. She wishes to become a vet and accompany her dad on his rounds. Now I found this to be a really good part of the episode.

It was nice to see Rosie becoming interested in what her dad does being a vet and he agrees to let her come along on his rounds. This had been done before in the Series 4 TV episode ‘Bark and Bites’.

Rosie has almost been run over by a bull in that episode but she came out of it alright in the end. Apparently it didn’t dissuade her in wanting to become a vet and work with larger animals on farms.

There is one problem though. Rosie’s dad isn’t too keen about her becoming a vet on big animals. He’s fine with her becoming a vet on smaller vets like with Granville Bennett, but not larger animals.

It seems James doesn’t believe large-animal practices are suitable for women. Which is odd because, didn’t we have a Series 5 episode featuring a female vet in training called ‘The Female of the Species’?

Granted it was Callum who interacted with the female trainee vet in that episode, but I would’ve thought James took something from that as well. Maybe I’m not remembering that episode too well.

In many ways, I see James’ point of view on the matter. He’s concerned for his daughter as he doesn’t want to be injured handling big animals. But I think James should give his daughter a chance.

At least James gives Rosie a chance to see what the less appealing side of being a country vet is like. This includes encouraging Rosie to come with him out on a night errand which is an occupational hazard.

But when Rosie’s out on a night shift with his dad, the farmer who’s there ridicules the notion of women becoming vets. This of course rather upsets Rosie just as she and her dad are about to head off for home.

Rosie also begins to suspect her dad isn’t giving her much encouragement to become a vet like he is. She shares this with her mum when they’re at home and she walks out when her dad returns home.

I did find her brother Jimmy cruel to Rosie once again. This is what it was like in the other episode the brother and sister were in when they were hurling insults at each other and showing lesser love.

I don’t think Jimmy did very much either in the episode apart from being cheeky. There is that crush he had for Susie Thornton in the other episode being mentioned but she never appears here either!

I think it would’ve been better to have Susie Thornton appear in this episode with Jimmy and Rosie. This is especially as this episode is the last one to feature Jimmy and Rose as characters. I’m serious!

Neither do Jimmy and Rose appear in the last episode of ‘All Creatures’ which is the 1990 Christmas Special ‘Brotherly Love’! You’d think they would appear in that episode as James and Helen’s kids. 😦

I don’t blame Paul Lyon as Jimmy and Alison Lewis as Rosie in all this as they’re very good child actors playing these characters. I blame the script-writing and less forethought was put in the series!

We’ll get back to how the Jimmy/Rosie subplot is resolved in a bit. Let’s go on to talk about what the episode’s title’s about. You see at Skeldale, Siegfried loses a patient which happens to be a little cat.

That cat belongs to Anna Turner as Mrs. Pettinger. She’s a nice old lady who trusts Siegfried to look after the cat. But Siegfried doesn’t check the lock on the cat’s basket and soon the cat runs away! 😀

I imagine the cat was fed up being caged in that basket by Mrs. Pettnger before he was given to Siegfried. The cat runs out through Skeldale’s front door, all thanks to a salesman selling old carpets.

In fact, that salesman reappears again in the episode to sell the same old carpet to the Herriots. James rightfully refuses to purchase it, since he found the carpet ‘hideous’, to which Helen objects to.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the cat! The cat goes on a journey from sneaking into the back of the salesman’s red van containing carpets before sneaking into the back of a furniture lorry in the tale.

I found it very amusing to see the cat going on his journey. I was hoping that we were going to follow the cat to where he was going all the way through and perhaps return to Skeldale House in the story.

But that’s not what happens sadly. Siegfried meanwhile is panic-stricken about where the cat has got to. He tries to get Tristan and Mrs. Alton to find out where the cat’s gone, looking all over Darrowby.

Tristan’s being lazy about it as he sits about in the back garden, hoping for a cup of tea from Mrs. Alton. Tristan however does take on the idea from Siegfried about setting a new wing for Prudence!

Yeah that’s the name of the cat. Sorry, the name just came to me as I wrote this review. But yeah, Tristan organises a plan to build this new Prudence wing, showing how much it will cost to Siegfried.

Wow! Tristan’s thorough there, isn’t he? But Siegfried goes off the idea once it turns out Prudence has been found. Tristan, slightly annoyed by Siegfried’s dismal of the idea, grins and bears with him.

Oh yes! Prudence gets found in the end. Mrs. Pettinger is happy with the news. In fact, I’m surprised Mrs. Pettinger didn’t become an emotional wreck once Siegfried broke to her that they lost her cat.

I mean, she was upset of course as she was anxiously waiting for Prudence to return. But she didn’t sue Siegfried for losing the cat in the first place. In fact, she seemed very reasonable about the thing.

I wish all of the vets’ customers were like that. Anyway, the cat’s been found and Siegfried and Tristan go over to see Mrs. Pettinger to check how Prudence is. But Prudence isn’t at her house!!! 😮

Oh no! Mrs. Pettinger explains to Siegfried that Prudence has been found somewhere else from Darrowby. Mrs. Pettinger gradually reveals to Siegfried that Prudence is in…Hull! There’s your title!!!

Siegfried laughs it off, disbelieving Prudence is in Hull at first. But Mrs. Pettinger is serious! That’s about three hours drive away from Skeldale. And Siegfried agreed to take Mrs. Pettinger to see him!

Tristan is quite amused that Siegfried will be away from Skeldale surgery for a long time. But his smile drops once Siegfried tells Tristan that he’ll have to cover for him in that three hours’ time then.

And that’s how the episode ends before the end credits come up! I’m not kidding! That’s how it finishes on that comedic note. But what about James and Rosie’s subplot! Unfinished in my opinion!

You see Rosie becomes very convinced that her father doesn’t want her to be a vet at all and loses interest in the end. This is especially after James fails to save a horse belong to a Mr. Keith Lawrence.

Martin Matthews guest stars as Keith Lawrence and Hannah Fawcett guest stars as his daughter Angela. Both Angela and Rosie become good friends for this episode when they attend to her horse.

Rosie is hoping her dad will work magical wonders on curing the horse as much as Angela is. But James is unable to treat that horse as he would like and in the end, he has to put that horse down. 😦

I would’ve liked it if James stressed to Rosie that putting down animals that are incurable comes with the job. That would illustrate James’ concerns for Rosie in becoming a vet when she’s grown up.

But I don’t think that’s what happens. In fact, when James sees Rosie to share his concerns about her becoming a vet and she’s unhappy about it…it’s left unresolved. There’s no happy conclusion to this.

I wouldn’t have minded that if it weren’t for one thing. The follow-up to this subplot doesn’t happen because Rosie and Jimmy don’t return to the series in another episode. That makes it so unsatisfying.

I wish I could say this episode was very good. It seemed to be with the comedic highlight of the cat and the drama of James and Rosie’s story. But it felt so unfulfilling and deserved a better resolution.

‘A Cat In Hull’s Chance’ rating – 7/10

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